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backgroundchecking RSS feed Tag: backgroundchecking

Examining the Growing Trend of ‘Ban the Box’

by Oct 21, 2014, 12:32 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 2.21.00 PMEmployers often seek as much information as possible about their candidates and the strengths and competencies they can bring to the company. But is asking about their criminal history during the application process going too far?

With the proliferation of “ban-the-box” laws in the U.S., whereby multiple states and local governments have passed legislation requiring that employers remove the questions pertaining to previous arrests or convictions from employment applications, that seems to be the trend.

While many of these laws pertain exclusively to employers in the public sector, there are a growing number of laws that apply to private employers as well. Such laws are currently in place in 13 states, with New Jersey being the latest to join the “ban-the-box” movement in August 2014 and Georgia lawmakers considering coming aboard as well. Many local jurisdictions have also banned the box, including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Seattle, Buffalo, San Francisco and, most recently, Washington, D.C.

As such laws continue to gain steam, employers must understand their responsibilities and how they can ensure compliance. But the most effective strategy is to stay ahead of the curve by working to eliminate the criminal history question before local regulations mandate it.

The Need for Ban-the-Box Laws keep reading…

Mr. Background Check’s Checkup

by Oct 15, 2014, 12:55 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 2.51.03 PMScene: Antiseptic, hospital room filled with the latest diagnostic equipment. Mr. Background Check lies happily in bed, not a care in the world. By his side are his nurse and doctor.

Nurse cheerily: Good morning Doctor. How is Mr. Background Check today?

Doctor checking an exam chart: Well, let’s see … no heartbeat, no pulse, no brain waves

Nurse raises back of hand to mouth: You mean he’s …

Doctor interrupts: No, no, Mr. Background Check is alive and well.

Nurse: But how can that be? With no brain waves I’d have predicted he ‘d be (pause) gone.

Doctor: No surprise really. We could never predict very much from the information we get from Mr. Background Check

Nurse: Then why do we collect the information?

Doctor pauses, then angrily: Because we always have. That’s why.

Stage direction: Doctor quickly exits stage left in a huff. Nurse looks at Mr. Background Check, shrugs her shoulders and exits stage right.

Do you rely on the information garnered in background checks to make employment decisions? Most of us do. But, the research on selection methods’ ability to predict job success puts background checks near the bottom of the list. keep reading…

Worker Drug Test Positives Rise for First Time Since 2003

by Sep 11, 2014, 12:14 am ET

Quest drug test 2013 resultsAfter a decade of slowly declining workplace drug test results, Quest Diagnostics said the trend reversed last year with more workers testing positive, particularly for marijuana and amphetamines.

Although the total positive results are small — of 7.6 million urine tests 3.7 percent were positive — it does represent a 5.5 percent increase from 2012′s 3.5  percent positives and it is the first increase since 2003, when 4.5 percent of the samples found traces of drugs. keep reading…

Credit Reports in the Hiring Process: How to Bring Clarity to the Confusion

by Apr 25, 2014, 5:26 am ET

Employers use credit reports to assess a candidate’s stability and their propensity to be dishonest or commit fraud. But this implies that the HR/recruiting representative understands how to analyze derogatory items on a credit report to determine whether they are the result of unfortunate circumstances or financial mismanagement. Oftentimes the interpretation tends to be a little off. keep reading…

Recruiting to Avoid a Rocky Mountain High — the Impact of State Marijuana Laws

by Mar 31, 2014, 5:34 am ET

marijuanaHow a state law becomes a recruiting issue 

I recently visited Boulder, Colorado, and guess what: everyone there was talking about the new marijuana law. If you are recruiting leader for a large corporation, you may fail to realize how much the laws of individual states can either positively or negatively impact your recruiting in that region. Take this Colorado marijuana law, for example. As a result of the law and its related publicity, firms trying to attract talent to the state may get a noticeable increase in applicants from younger workers who view the new law as a positive thing, making the state a great place to work (For example, the University of Colorado had a 33 percent spike in freshman enrollments this year. Some have attempted to attribute the rise at least in part due to the publicity around the law).

But a recruiting leader shouldn’t be surprised to find out that state laws can also have a negative impact on recruiting. Once more using the Colorado example, there is already some indication that employees with families are having second thoughts about relocating there because they are unsure about living in a state where their children could be continually exposed to widespread marijuana use. And before you make the assumption that the recruiting implications of this law are unique, realize that the same positive and negative impacts may come from other state laws relating to high profile issues. Those might include local laws covering gay rights/marriage, abortion, access to voting, tax rates, and school choice and even, as happened in Florida, gun laws.

Recruiting Challenges in a 420 World keep reading…

New Tips Out on Background Checks

by Mar 11, 2014, 10:33 am ET

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.27.21 AMNew assistance is out from the U.S. government on the use of background checks.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission co-published the documents. Fortunately, they’re written pretty clearly, and have a good set of links for more information.

There’s a link for employer information as well as a page for job seekers and current employees.

Celebrate Employee Appreciation Day by Hosting an SAT Test

by Mar 7, 2014, 11:29 am ET

SAT sample testYou didn’t forget, did you? Forget that today is Employee Appreciation Day? Or forget what your high school SAT scores were?

First things first, which, for our more-or-less weekly roundup columns means that we begin with the weird, the odd, and the stuff you just gotta shake your head at. In this case, that’s the SATs.

Now, just as the company behind the Scholastic Aptitude Tests is overhauling the test, and saying it’s barely relevant, employers are starting to ask candidates for their SAT scores. It would be one thing — an odd thing, considering the test is taken in high school — if the candidates were upcoming or recent college grads. But The Wall Street Journal says mid-career people are being asked for their scores. keep reading…

Los Angeles Wants Probation Officers — But This Time, They Better Not Be Troublemakers

by Oct 22, 2013, 6:42 am ET

la countyScreen Shot 2013-10-21 at 3.17.21 PMThey’re looking for probation officers here in Los Angeles, but the county doesn’t want to repeat the experience of 2005 to 2008, when many hires didn’t get much of a background check and ended up with DUIs or even battery arrests.

Yes, those were probation officers themselves, getting “very limited to no background checks,” Don Meyer, a Los Angeles County Probation Department assistant chief, tells me. So, now, “we want to fill positions more than anybody but we want to do it the right way.” keep reading…

Flunking the Test: Demystifying Pre-Employment Testing

by Sep 5, 2013, 1:37 am ET

The sad truth is, in the pursuit of money, needing a job and fear of failure, people create false resumes and falsify information when they go to an interview. To help ensure candidates are who they say they are, many companies do pre-employment testing before even doing an interview, let alone making an offer.

Questions to consider when choosing a testing or assessment program include: keep reading…

Sacred Cows and Silly Practices Die Slowly in Recruiting

by Jul 29, 2013, 6:11 am ET

Recruiting is full of practices that seem to last forever. Unfortunately, many practices endure for years despite the fact that they add no value to the hiring process. I call these well-established practices “sacred cows” because many lon-gtime recruiters and hiring managers vigorously defend them even though both company and academic data shows that they should be discarded.

The need to identify and then kill these sacred cows was reinforced recently by some compelling research data revealed by Google’s head of HR, Laszlo Bock. For example, extensive data from Google demonstrated that five extremely common recruiting practices (brainteaser interview questions, unstructured interviews, student GPAs or test scores, and conducting more than four interviews) all had zero or minimal value for successfully predicting the on-the-job performance of candidates. But despite this hard data, practices like brainteaser interview questions will likely continue for years.

Recruiting Has a Long, Checkered History of Silliness keep reading…

Is Your Background Screener Doing the Job? Here’s How to Tell

by Jul 1, 2013, 5:34 pm ET

Background screen - freeChoosing and monitoring your background screening vendor is as important — and maybe more so even — than the interview you conduct with candidates.

“The worst thing you can do,” says Fred Giles, chair of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, “is to treat it (your background screening) like a commodity and choose the lowest bidder.”

Once you have made a selection, monitoring the performance and maintaining regular contact is also a  must. And, says Giles, “Most significant, most important, is that employers make sure to review the process, their process … Have a clearly defined process for evaluating the results … and an opportunity for the candidate to explain (any negatives).” keep reading…

Background-checking Companies Taking on the Employee Side of the Process

by Jun 4, 2013, 2:45 pm ET

eknowid logoAt least a couple of companies, neither too well known yet, have a different take on a background check: they’re having job candidates take a turn in the driver’s seat when it comes to the whole process. keep reading…

A Missed Opportunity — Failing to Use References for Recruiting Top Talent

by Apr 8, 2013, 5:10 am ET

Most know references to be a tool for checking a candidate’s background, but reference-related factors can also be one of the simplest, cheapest, and effective areas for identifying top candidates.

Even the best corporations that excel at recruiting routinely fail to realize that references and the reference process itself can be powerful sources for identifying and selling top talent.

References should be considered valuable recruiting targets because anyone who is given as a reference by top talent is almost always more experienced and knowledgeable then the individual who designated them as a reference. The availability/visibility of references has dramatically increased now that the names of references can be easily found on the Internet and within LinkedIn. As a result, smart recruiting leaders and recruiters should re-examine references as one of the most underused but cost-effective areas for identifying top talent.

The Top 8 Most Effective Reference-related Recruiting Approaches keep reading…

Confirmation Bias Can Get in the Way of Smart Hiring Decisions

by Mar 20, 2013, 1:01 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 12.46.42 PMChip and Dan Heath have two best sellers behind them and I suspect soon a third one. I am fortunate to know Chip, and received a pre-release of Decisive, their new book to be released on March 26. It is a must read for any business leader.

Of the many business decisions, it is often said that the most important decisions are people decisions. So the question is: How do we make better talent decisions when we know that we get it wrong half of the time? To reassure you, poor decisions are not only made in the field of talent management. The book mentions that doctors categorizing themselves as “completely certain” about a diagnosis were wrong 40% of the time.

In order to address this issue, to get it right, know what causes us to make wrong decisions. In Decisive, this is explained as “the four villains of decision making.” One that resonates with us a great deal, as we think about talent decisions, is the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias is the act of making emotional decisions and only gathering information that supports such decisions. The difficulty here is that these decisions appear to be researched and scientific, but when you look closer, they end up being subject to the confirmation bias.

Let’s look at an example and see how you can avoid the confirmation bias for you and your organization:  keep reading…

Compliance with New EEOC Guidelines Can Help You Improve Quality of Hires

by Jan 21, 2013, 12:18 am ET

Screen Shot 2013-01-16 at 1.53.13 PMIn early 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Office of Legal Counsel issued updated guidance regarding the handling of criminal history checks in the course of background screening. Furthermore, the EEOC has announced it will aggressively pursue, as class actions, claims of discrimination that arise as a result of criminal history checks. Although the 2012 guidance clarifies long-standing EEOC policies, it is particularly involved — and initially can be confusing for HR professionals and recruiters, alike. keep reading…

The Worst Recruiting Mistakes

by Jan 10, 2013, 5:04 am ET

Late last year, I checked with my recruiting friends (yes, I still have a few left) and colleagues as to what they thought were the worst recruiting mistakes that companies make. What they said is below. What do you think are the worst? keep reading…

Media Screening Can Help to Avoid Brand Damage Through a Bad Hire

by Jan 10, 2013, 1:25 am ET
Kean University's president

Kean University’s president

We are all familiar with the story of the Yahoo CEO who took on his role in early 2012, only to be dismissed when stories arose that he padded his resume with an embellished college degree.

Many executive screening packages only look at qualifications, work history, education, and public records, that can result in “misses” like the one above.

To help develop the “big picture,” many companies are looking to add media screening when hiring at the executive level. Media screening is a comprehensive search through various databases to access thousands of news sources including newspapers, trade publications, professional journals, articles, transcripts, and numerous others. The results of this search can include award nominations and other achievements by the applicant, and community and industry association involvement, business and job disputes, references to criminal activity, or other potentially negative information.

Is Media Screening the Same as Social Media Screening? keep reading…

What Employers Should Know About the Regulation of Marijuana

by Jan 7, 2013, 4:01 am ET

co-authored by Roger G. Trim, a shareholder in the Denver office of Ogletree Deakins

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 1.01.38 PMAs of January 2013, 18 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books legalizing the use of medical marijuana. A number of additional states have gone even further by passing laws decriminalizing or eliminating jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana, regardless of whether the marijuana was for medical use. Finally, two states — Colorado and Washington — passed laws on November 6, 2012, affirmatively legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Many employers are concerned about what these marijuana laws mean for them and whether they need to make any changes to their drug policies in light of recent developments. keep reading…

Success With Pre-hire Assessment Starts With Using the Right Tool at the Right Time

by Nov 28, 2012, 5:35 am ET

While there are many possible ways to use pre-hire assessments, there are some general truths associated with getting the most out of these tools. A good hiring process is a coordinated effort in which the right tool is selected for use at the right time in the process. In many cases talent acquisition professionals (including many of us I/O psychologists) are guilty of being myopic, choosing to focus on the ins and outs of one specific test. Be thorough when it comes to tests, but an effective hiring process requires a focus not only on the individual pieces, but also on the way these pieces work together.

“The funnel” provides the most tried-and-true analogy for configuring components to create a hiring process. Although the funnel may look vastly different in different situations, (for instance more emphasis on screening in high-volume situations), the overall goal is to evaluate people who are unknown to the organization in order to thin the herd while finding those who have what it takes.

While a winning hiring process should include tests, simply chucking a test in the hopper will not get the job done. Despite the many variations possible when constructing a funnel-based hiring process, there are some universal truths regarding what tools are generally most effective at various stages of the process.

Let’s take a look at a quick summary of the ideal components of a holistic and cohesive hiring process, as well as a generally accepted rough order in which they should be used.

Sourcing: Increasing the Odds Outside the Funnel keep reading…

Real Reference Checks Require These 8 Steps

by Oct 30, 2012, 5:13 am ET

A few days ago I received a call from a business owner conducting a reference check on a former co-worker of mine. She kept me on the phone for nearly a half hour to ask me several probing questions about the potential hire. I’ve fielded many reference calls over the years, but none of them were as strong as this one.

The typical call I get lasts five minutes with the reference checker basically saying, “We adore this candidate. You love ‘em, too, right?” They make the call hoping I won’t say anything that will cause concern about the candidate which would throttle their company back to square one of the hiring process.

These actions will help you conduct a real reference check instead of a quick cursory call: keep reading…